Our world is full of uncertainty. Chaos and unrest seem to spread hourly, causing fear to run rampant. My prayer each day is, “God help us not to murmur or complain. Teach us that these are signs of impatience and distrust of you, our faithful Lord.”
In Exodus 17, Moses described murmuring as “tempting God.” The children of Israel were at Rephidim and there was no water to drink. Doubt and fear were spreading through the encampment. The people forgot all the times in the past they had been delivered and once again began to doubt that the Lord was with them. “God, why did you bring us out of Egypt? Why didn’t you let us die there instead of bringing us to this place to kill us?” they cried. The murmuring reached a crescendo as they turned their anger toward Moses with calls to stone him.
Finally, in His mercy, God gave them water out of a rock. However, he gave it a name as a permanent reminder of their distrust, murmuring and complaining. “So he called the name of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the contention of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the LORD, saying, ‘Is the LORD among us or not’” (Exodus 17:7 NKJV)? It was to be a place forever remembered in Israel’s future.
We often feel we have a right to murmur and complain because our afflictions are painful and hard to bear. There are times I have been guilty of this, but each time I reread Exodus l7, a reverent fear of the Lord grips my soul. This account emphasizes that God takes our faithlessness very seriously.
God has seen us through so much in the past, and he has proven his faithfulness every time. When will we ever fully trust him? When will we wholly trust his promise to keep us, to love us, and to be our heavenly Father and keeper? If we could understand that everything will end up to God’s glory, we would rest in his Word. We would not complain or fear but would rest in the assurance that all who hold fast to faith will be blessed.
May God help us take this to heart in the testing times ahead. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us!